Thursday, December 27, 2012

Cleo Paglinawan's Itlog na Pula - Eggs and More Eggs

As a Christmas present to the hundreds of souls who love their Pink Film articles, I am posting one of the dozen-or-so completed, albeit unposted reviews of a Pink Film shown during the first quarter of 2012. This has been pre-scheduled for a November 28 posting but I got tired of them. The main thing here is, the blank page has managed unbelievable traffic and page views compared to the other flicks of its genre (except for one particular title). People LOVE garbage and this is proof of that. This is also one of the reasons why Blank Posts have been placed here; so I know which ones to post WHEN I feel like it, honey. Maybe another Pink Film review gets posted for the New Year. Maybe not. Enjoy your eggs! They are red, and perfect for the season. :)


In Cleo Paglinawan’sItlog na Pula”, there’s paucity of opportunity and commerce in a remote, impoverished town where Jerome (Jerome Pineda) tends to the ducks, processing red (salted) eggs from his fowls. To supplement his income, he has occasional rendezvous with the town’s limpwrists (Ike Sadiasa) enthusiastic enough to shell out P100 (ohmygawd) to manipulate Jerome’s “smoking gun”. Jerome has known destitution since he was abandoned by his mother as a child. “Dito na rin siguro ako mamatay,” muses Jerome. He lives his humdrum life with resignation until a fascinating couple from the city arrives, seemingly eluding a patchy situation from the mean streets of the big city.

Jerome offers his kubo to Charles and Barbara (Charles Delgado and Barbara Chavez) “kung mapagtiisan ninyo ito”. The couple’s only too pleased to find board and accommodations. After all, their savings amount to almost nil. Charles needs to find a job fast because the couple has conveniently freeloaded off Jerome’s hospitality, staying in his hut and eating his “itlog na pula”. But the host doesn’t seem to mind: he believes Charles will eventually pay him. Besides, Barbara has beguiled the young man who has never slept with a girl. Barbie’s occasional peekaboo bathing sessions become inspiring anatomical lessons for Jerome. Barbie, it turns out, is attracted to the strapping young lad. In fact, nights turn into feu de joies of temptation as Barbie stares at her half-naked landlord while he sleeps. But what's more interesting, Charles shares Barbie’s fascination with Jerome. And the couple soon takes turns surreptitiously canoodling Jerome’s “red eggs”. Isn't it about time they just make an omelet out of this funky triumvirate? It seems clear Jerome has adequate raw materials for such gastronomic serving, debah?

Jerome Pineda

Charles Delgado

Like her other ouvres, director Cleo Paglinawan’s tale is a story that has been told many times over by Paglinawan herself. Unfortunately, she isn’t equipped with enough neuron to conjure innovation for her narrative twists. It doesn’t help that her scriptwriters are as artistically impotent. If you “cut and paste” a scene from any of Paglinawan’s movies this year and insinuate them in one of her film, the scene wouldn’t seem misplaced. Her scenography has been monotonously similar. You can easily interchange stories and scenes in her films. Try “Mga Lalake Sa Balsa”: desperate men in a poor town; able bodied guys surrendering their body to cringe-worthy parlorista; seemingly straight men turning gay without prior hint; then a sudden violent twist to cap the story.  

Paglinawan is eternally disoriented. Her individual scenes are incongruent. Making movies with her constitutes nothing more than owning a movie camera. Forget new stories and original scripts. These elements never figure in Paglinawan’s artistic endeavor.

It’s too bad because Charles Delgado and newbie Jerome Pineda are able actors; both are comfortable delivering their lines and they’re never awkward in their scenes. Barbara Chavez, on the other hand, is a perpetually flustered presence. Her depiction of a nymphomaniac may “take” within the context of the story (the reason why the couple in the story keeps moving from one place to another), but if you watch her in other films like “Three-in-One” and “Frontal”, her performances are nothing but kindred; they’re one and the same. She needs to realize that it’s her job to take on different personalities in every role she appears in. Iba ibahin mo, ‘Ne!  

This film made me remember Seiko Films’Itlog”, one of Robbie Tan’s enviable "masterpieces" from 2002. Compared to “Itlog na Pula”, Francis “Jun” Posadas’ exploitative flick feels like a masterpiece. It was about a hunky caretaker (Winston Elizalde) who gets into his hospitable boss’ (Celso Ad. Castillo) good graces until the latter’s prodigal son (Rodel Velayo) makes his intractable homecoming. In the film, Winston and Rodel vie for Diana Zubiri's affection. Then the eggs start cracking. Ohdearme!

"Itlog na Pula" was first screened sometime March this year. If you've never heard of it, there must be justice in the cinematic world, right? How can egregious works like this one have commercial screenings while commendable indie flicks from say, Mes de Guzman, not have any?


On hindsight, Tan’s reign as purveyor of slickly-produced softcore flicks wasn’t as bad as today’s “indie machinery”: great locations, beautiful actors, well-threshed out convoluted plots, and stories that “try” to weave fresher tales. Seiko has likewise contributed to the birth of some of our most dependable actors – Rosanna Roces, Diana Zubiri, Rita Avila, Via Veloso, Ana Capri, Jestoni Alarcon, Cesar Montano, Gardo Versoza, In fact, scriptwriter Jerry Gracio (who wrote “Itlog”) had his start here. From “Talong”, “Sisid”, “Bayaran” and “U-Belt”, Gracio graduated into writing better scripts – “Colorum”, “Magdamag”, “Isda”, “Ligo na U, Lapit na Me”, etc. 

One sometimes wishes that Seiko Films was still producing their exploitative flicks to displace these New Age cinematic garbage. Robbie Tan's films were clearly superior works compared to the likes of “Id'nal (Mapusok)’, “Hubo”, “Kapalit ng Ligaya”, "Kapa", "Hardinero", "Masukista", “Kasalo”, "For Adults Only", “Tiyo Pablo”, and other new generation skin flicks. At least you’d know that Seiko Films spent a considerable amount to produce their film projects. They take weeks and even months to finish while GA Villafuerte movies ridiculously complete their principal photography in - hold your panties! - ONE day! Heck, even films from impoverished Burkina Faso take days to finish. Only in the Philippines do we have movies hastily done within 24 hours and still find a venue - like Robinsons Galleria - to screen them on. Villafuerte and Paglinawan - and now there's even a Benny Andaya responsible for one of the most vomit-inducing gay-flavored flicks in the last 5 years or so - "Uhaw sa Piling Mo". These films are fit for Ripley's. Believe it or not!

How do you make "itlog na pula". This film can't even make a decent documentary from this subject.

Sleepy Charles Delgado

Barbara Chavez hides behind foliage.


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Melanie said...

The best pa rin ang Itlog nina Nini Jacinto at my forever fantasy Leonardo Litton. May ma-comment lang hihihi

Happy holidays Cathy :)

Cathy Pena said...

I think you're referring to "Talong" with Nini Jacinto and Leonardo Litton?

Happy holidays, dear Melanie. ;)

Melanie said...

OMG! What a mistake! Kay Rodel Velayo pala yun at Allona Amor. Tsuri naman ahahahaha!